Greek Lamb Meatballs Stuffed with Feta,Kalamata Olives and Preserved Lemon Paired with LAMADRID RESERVA CABERNET FRANC

There is no love sincerer than the love of food and wine. ~George Bernard Shaw


Eat your meatballs! They are good for you! And,taste good,too!

Growing up in a Sicilian family,you eat meatballs,especially at Sunday dinner. But being the FOOD REBEL that I am, I am constantly searching for the the non-traditional and exciting new recipe to satisfy my culinary curiosity of the non-traditional and to the create the perfect pairing with fun and delicious wine. There is a great new cookbook out there,dedicated to MEATBALLS!

THE MEATBALL SHOP COOKBOOK. Check it out! If you are a meatball lover like I am,you will love this cookbook. The creators and owners of the shops located in New York have published a one-of-a-kind cookbook with beautiful pictures and divulged all of their secret recipes for us to now enjoy at home! I immediately found the recipe I wanted to make and pair with one of my favorite grape varietals.

CABERNET FRANC! New World CABERNET FRANC.Get to know this grape! Once considered an old world blending grape in Bordeaux,this grape has stepped out of the shadows of traditional French Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blends and is now finding its way to many other areas of the world as the nontraditional blends or main grape varietal that is bottled.

Think cult wine.

Cabernet Franc wine is finding interest with the wine geeks and wine lovers of unusual and unique wines produced all around the world. This varietal tends to produce an earthy,medium-bodied wine with medium tannins and more immediate fruit than a Cabernet Saugvignon. Tasting characteristics include deep berry flavors and fragrance,peppery herbaceousness and aromas. Cabernet Franc pairs well with earthy dishes made with wild game AND with lamb. Olives,feta and preserved lemon have rustic earthy flavors that are a perfect match with this unique wine.


LAMADRID CABERNET FRANC 2009 from Argentina is a great example of this once French-grown only varietal stepping into front and center. Upon the first luscious sip,you detect violets,juicy ripe blackberries,a touch of vanilla and a unique earthiness usually not detected in wines not grown in the country of origin. And,the tannins are balanced with the fruitiness which is what makes the pairing with the rich lamb meatballs,unctuous Kalamata olives and salty,creamy feta cheese.   LAMADRID CABERNET FRANC 2009 also pairs with the rustic,homemade tomato sauce simmered with rich,dark olive oil and the variety of earthy fresh herbs.
LAMADRID Cabernet Franc 2009 was given 91 points by Wine Spectator. Average Price: $15

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground lamb-I used New Zealand Lamb ground fresh from Whole Foods
2 large eggs
1/2 bread crumbs-I used Progresso Brand
1/4 cup Kalamata Olives-pitted and chopped
1/4 cup Cilantro-chopped
3 tablespoons crumbled Feta Cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 garlic clove,minced
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 preserved lemon,chopped


Being the foodie that I am,I seem to always have a jar of preserved lemon in my pantry. If you don’t,click on this link and order some or make your own preserved lemons from the recipe in the cookbook or Preserved Lemons are used in Middle Eastern or Moroccan recipes. I added CUMIN to the recipe,which is a common ingredient found in Greek Cuisine as well.
This earthy spice works well in this recipe along with the olives and feta.

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Drizzle olive oil and spread evenly in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
Combine the ground lamb,eggs,bread crumbs,olives,feta,herbs,salt and preserved lemon in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

Roll the mixture into 1-1/2 inch (golf-ball sized) meatballs,packing firmly.

Place into the pan and roast for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Internal temperature 165 degrees.

Tomato Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 finely diced onion
1 or 2 fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme (may use fresh)
2 garlic cloves,minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-26 oz boxes POMI Chopped Tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
Red Pepper Flakes,a pinch to taste
salt/pepper to taste


Saute the onions,bay leaf,oregano,thyme and garlic with the olive oil in a medium pan for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft.
Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
Add the Pomi Tomatoes and chicken broth and stir until just boiling.
Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour stirring constantly.
Add salt/pepper and red pepper to taste as the sauce is simmering.
Remove the bay leaves before serving.


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